Is it offensive to call St. Patrick’s Day “Paddy’s Day?”

According to the results of IrishCentral’s recent poll, Paddy’s Day is perfectly acceptable. But there are those who still believe the fond abbreviation – typically favored by those living in Ireland – is inappropriate.

Out of the 830 readers who took the poll, 490, or 59% said that “Paddy’s Day” was a perfectly acceptable abbreviation for St. Patrick’s Day.

Three hundred and twenty four readers, or 39%, opined that “Paddy’s Day” is indeed offensive and the holiday should only be called St. Patrick’s Day.

And then there were the profoundly disappointing 16 readers – only 2%, but still – who said that they call it “Patty’s Day” even though that’s wrong. Come on lads, don’t be like that!!!

Still, the most surprising thing is the 39% who think “Paddy’s Day” is inappropriate.

What accounts for this?

An analysis of the poll results point to a few divides. Male voters categorized “Paddy’s Day” as offensive more than female voters did.

There were also higher frequencies of “Paddy’s Day” naysayers in the 45-54, 55-64, and 65+ age groups, while the 18-24, 25-34 and 35-44 age groups were more in favor of its use.

The countries that had a majority voting against “Paddy’s Day” as a term were Egypt, Brazil, Mexico, South Africa, Norway, France, Portugal, Tunisia, the Netherlands and Vietnam, though there were a much smaller number of respondents in those countries.

The countries with the highest number of voters – the US, Ireland, Canada, the UK, and Australia – were all more in favor of using “Paddy’s Day,” though it did come pretty close in Canada and the UK.

In the comment section, some readers suggested that a it has to do with a cultural divide, with the Irish diaspora apparently more sensitive to the term than the Irish-born and those living in Ireland.

“When I moved to Ireland I used to call it St. Patrick’s Day but I was quickly corrected. I think it’s colloquial that at home it’s Paddy’s day,” George Patterson said.

But another reader, Peter Kennedy, made a case for using the full title as a sign of respect.

“I personally only use the term to describe our national saint’s day as St. Patrick’s Day . . . Paddy’s Day I can live with, St. Paddy’s Day [is] downright insulting, and St. Patty or Patty’s Day makes the skin crawl out of my body. My great Grandfather was Patrick, as was my Grandfather, and I would have preferred to have been called Patrick myself, so why make a mess out of a nice name.”

So there you have it. To each his own and, as another reader commented, “Happy St. Patrick’s Day wherever you are!”

Just don’t call it St. Patty’s.